Free Work Band Free Work Band

This self-titled recording marks the first time the Free Work Band had played together in May 2000. Composed of Gordon Allen on trumpet, bassist Chris Banks and drummer Jaime Carrasco, Free Work is well named. Certainly freedom is in evidence most overtly in the improvised opener "Play," otherwise the freedom is in the elasticity of the rhythm section's interpretation of Allen's tunes, which are well thought out, melodic and, at times, very soulful. Allen's playing stands out - whether playing with or without mute, he's always on point, never hesitant in his playing, never trying to sound "out," playing bop-inspired but fractured runs recalling Hobart Dotson, one of Sun Ra's early trumpet players. His tunes definitely derive from the blues, and the rhythm section successfully articulates the abstract blues required to make these tunes work, with laid back, way behind the beat grooves on "Clearance" and "Clais." Fortunately this disc doesn't sound revisionist in the least, partly because of the success of the grooves but also because it sounds as though each member has listened to a lot of non-bop improvisers, which informs what they do with rhythms and textures. If you're into early Julius Hemphill, you should check this out. (Independent)